11 August 2023

Man who harassed two girls on Gungahlin buses gets jail sentence

| Albert McKnight
ACT Law Courts

Njabulo Ndlovu, 33, has been handed a six-month jail sentence. Photo: Albert McKnight.

A man who was harassing girls on buses has been handed a jail sentence for the frightening incidents.

Njabulo Ndlovu boarded a bus at the Gungahlin Bus Interchange on an afternoon in January 2023, sat down next to a 17-year-old girl and tried to talk to her, Magistrate Robert Cook said.

She ignored him, but he made comments like how they should go out for coffee, that she smelled delicious, turned him on and she should marry him.

The teenager denied the requests. She gave him a fake name and number when he asked for them, texted her mother to ask for help then got off at the next bus stop.

The second victim, a 16-year-old, boarded a bus at the Gungahlin Bus Interchange in an afternoon in May 2023 while still wearing her school uniform.

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Ndlovu sat next to her, even though there were other empty seats on the bus, then tried to talk to her and touched her arm.

He asked her questions about school and made comments like, “You’re a good white girl, I have a lot of white girls, when you have children you’ll be good at looking after them”.

He also said she was his wife and put his hand on her knee, leaving her feeling shocked.

Two other passengers asked the teen if she wanted to move seats, but she was too upset to move and started to cry.

“She was in a state of shock and fright,” Magistrate Cook said.

Ndlovu pleaded guilty to charges of offensive behaviour and committing an act of indecency without consent over these two incidents, respectively, as well as to charges of damaging property and failing to appear in court over unrelated matters.

The 33-year-old appeared in the ACT Magistrates Court for sentencing on Thursday (10 August), where Magistrate Cook said one of his victims had told the court about the fear he placed in her as well as her ongoing concerns when travelling on public transport.

He said Ndlovu had been intoxicated during the incidents and was unable to abstain from using alcohol. He also has mental health difficulties.

Alcohol seemed to be the underlying issue for his offending and much rested on him giving it up, the magistrate said.

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The court heard he already had two prior convictions for committing acts of indecency without consent for inappropriately touching two other people.

Ndlovu, who moved to Australia from Zimbabwe when he was younger, had already spent over four months in custody before he came before the court for sentencing on Thursday.

He was convicted, fined $1500 and sentenced to six months’ jail, backdated to account for time served and suspended from that day for a 12-month good behaviour order.

This means he was able to leave custody that afternoon.

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